What we are not hearing in this tragedy is the truth.
And we are not hearing the truth from that great voice from the Grave. Martin Luther King is not here.
And I will not try to fill Reverend King’s shoes, but I will try to communicate a little for him.
We have not arrived to MLK’s vision for America, where two little boys can play in the red dirt of Lower Alabama.
But, we are much closer than we were in 1969. In 1969 with race riots on the news almost daily, I lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Fear was often in the voices of the news broadcasters. It seemed even the reporters feared they might be the ‘next target.’
Those days moved passed US.
But, Trayvon’s days ended too young.
No mother should outlive her son. No father should have to comfort his wife over the loss of their son, especially his ex-wife.
But, today, we have a new generation of racial leaders who truly do not want to move beyond race and towards unity.
Because if we remove the ‘black’ from leaders, politics, race, and even hate in America, there will be less room for ‘black leaders.’
They won’t go away.
But, there will be fewer black leaders. Sadly, that is the biggest part of our problem. It is difficult for US as a nation to move past this tragedy until the racial element of this problem is buried with Trayvon.
The racial element, breeds hate. And with hatred comes violence.
But, in the stands, on television, on the radio, in the blogosphere, and even on Twitter there are ‘leaders’ who would have no followers if they gave up their gospel of racism in America.
They would have no paycheck at the end of the day.
And had Martin been allowed to live instead of murdered on that tragic day, those people who make a living off of hatred would not have jobs. Had James Earl Ray not pulled the trigger, Martin would lead our country towards healing instead of away from healing.
Friends, Countrymen, and fellow Christians,
How can we best give tribute to Trayvon and Martin Luther King?
By becoming the loving change we would like to see in others.
Instead of blaming everyone around us, I know this is difficult for each of us, and it is difficult for me, we can love and forgive.
Instead of being quick to say all the COPS profile all the young black men, we need to be quick to teach all young men how to behave.
Even when young men behave, the police will make mistakes.
We need to call for patience, and we need to call upon our government to investigate cases of violence.
But, we need our young men to have good examples, not violent examples to live by.
It is time the ‘Hip hop’ culture with its prison attire and tributes to gay rape of inmates be buried. We do not need singers, rich people, asking teenagers to rape and murder.
Teenagers already have enough hormones, they do not need more.
Can we pay Trayvon and Reverend Martin a tribute? A tribute of Peace and Love?
Can we take another step together down that long road to a time when two little children can play in the red mud of Lower Alabama?
Are you with me?